The Royal Mail Hotel is thrilled to announce the arrival of six baby eastern quolls. Extinct on mainland Australia, this is an exciting step in the breeding partnership with the Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program.
What is a quoll?
Quolls are carnivorous marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea. There are six species of quoll, four found in Australia (Eastern, Northern, Western and Tiger Quoll) and two found in New Guinea (Bronze and New Guinean Quoll).
Their lifespan commonly ranges between two and five years, with up to three of those breeding years. Their diet includes smaller mammals, small birds, lizards and insects. They are nocturnal den dwellers and tree climbers, which live in solitary, except for mating season in winter.
Genetic evidence indicates quolls evolved approximately 15 million years ago. The quoll population experienced a dramatic decline after European settlement and were considered to be relatively populous across the country prior to that. For example, the western quoll was once found across 70% of Australia and is now only found in the south-west of Western Australia. Now, the Eastern, Northern and Tiger Quoll are listed as endangered, while the western quoll is considered vulnerable.
Their major threats include cane toads in the north, feral cats and foxes, urbanisation and poison bating.
The Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program
The Royal Mail Hotel’s parent company, Dunkeld Pastoral Company, joined the conservation program and began housing eastern quolls in enclosures at Mount Sturgeon Station.
The program aims to breed healthy, genetically diverse animals for future reintroduction. The quolls in the Royal Mail Hotel program will be traded with the quolls in Tasmania, to ensure genetic diversification and higher success rates.
In 2018, the Royal Mail Hotel breeding program received a one-year-old female quoll to mate with the hotel’s two-year-old male quoll, called Liam Neeson, who was bred in house. In late June, a pouch check by Conservation Manager, Emma McKenzie, revealed six young the size of jellybeans.
Eastern quolls are able to breed when they are one-year-old and can breed for up to three seasons. They have one litter a year of up to six young. The gestation period is three weeks; after which they can give birth to around 30 young. These are the size of a grain of rice and once born migrate to the pouch and attach to the mother’s teat. She only has six teats and the remaining young will not survive. They will be in the pouch for around 10-12 weeks then weaned at around 18-20 weeks.
Visit the Adult Eastern Quolls at Royal Mail Hotel
Unfortunately, the babies cannot be visited just yet. They are busy growing and developing alone with their mum in a separate enclosure. However, the Royal Mail Hotel offers guided tours of the adult quolls involved in the breeding program, every Monday to Saturday at 4.30pm. See the quolls up close at feeding time, hear straight from the conservation team and visit the two squirrel gliders as well.
Tours need to be pre-booked the evening prior at reception.